Human rights in the supply chain: Is a new law coming?

Politics puts pressure on companies

Author: Mario Schmidtgen
Date: 15.07.2019

The grand coalition is making companies more committed to ensuring compliance with human rights in their supply chains. In the coalition agreement of 2018, it was agreed that it would be reviewed whether the current voluntary commitment would be honored or not. For this purpose, 1800 companies with more than 500 employees will be surveyed from August onwards.

If less than 50 percent of the companies surveyed adhere to the standards along the supply chain, they want to introduce a new law.

Change in questionnaire causes criticism

A similar law already exists in France. Here, large companies are obliged to comply with human rights standards in the supply chain.

But there is criticism on the methodology of the survey. For example, the magazine Spiegel Online writes that the questionnaire was modified in such a way that a result below the 50 percent hurdle is unlikely. Participants who do not meet the requirements, for instance, should originally be classified in the ” non-compliant” category. In the new questionnaire there are now the categories “companies with an implementation plan” and “companies on the right track”. If a company falls into one of the two categories, they are no longer considered as “non-compliant”.

German companies stand up for human rights in the supply chain

The Misereor network, which is committed to business and human rights, spoke of a manipulated survey and glossed over results.

In contrast, the change should please the Federation of German Employers’ Associations. President Ingo Kramer called a possible law “nonsense”.

Other companies, on the other hand, are already a step ahead. Large corporations such as Daimler, BMW, Tchibo and Kik are particularly committed to ensuring that legal regulations exist to ensure compliance with human rights in the supply chain.

The results of the survey should be available in summer 2020.

Picture: annca